The Secret Society Of Lost Hats

A friend once blew my mind with his story about a friend from the States who’d spent twenty-plus years picking up lost playing cards — you know, the ones you see littering the streets? Keep an eye out, you’ll see ‘em — until he completed a whole deck.

Fifty-two unique cards, plus jokers. If that doesn’t blow your mind, then start looking.

Last summer, another friend and I were on a bike ride — actually, the last 125km of Thighs of Steel — and we spotted a blue baseball cap on the side of the road.

I didn’t think anything of it: one of the day’s less interesting roadside flotsam compared to the drifts of cotton fruit and the odd tortoise.

But my friend pulled sharp to a stop, picked the battered cap up and brushed it down.

‘I love these weird old caps,’ he said, showing off his find. ‘Look at that — !’

I looked. The word ‘Castrol’ was stitched into the forehead.

For the rest of the ride, the game was cap-spotting. We found no fewer than six caps that day.

Fast forward to a couple of weekends ago, instructing in the Chiltern Hills. One of those deceptive spring days where the sunrays were stronger than the ambient temperature.

I was surprised to get home and feel the heat still radiating off my scalp.

‘I need a cap,’ I said to myself, without really knowing what I was letting myself in for.

Since then, I’ve been on the look out, hoping to join the secret society of lost hats. So far, I’ve only come up with a luscious woven beach hat and a child’s baseball cap.

Anyway. If you know a kid called Aamilah, let her know that it’s tied up on the handrail leading down to the Durley Chine Harvester. Cheers.

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David Charles is co-writer of BBC radio sitcom Foiled. He also writes for The Bike Project, Thighs of Steel, and the Elevate Festival. He blogs at

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